The 1999 Auto Windscreens Shield winning manager shares his thoughts on the FA Cup semi final.
He was the man leading Wigan Athletic out at Wembley Stadium in 1999 and last night, speaking at an event held at the DW Stadium in aid of Joseph’s Goal, Mathias spoke about how he thinks Latics can win at Wembley again.
“I’ve seen Wigan Athletic a few times this season and I’m down doing some summarising for radio on the day.
“Saturday will be a great occasion for the club and they’re going to go into the game as favourites to win but no player every underestimates their opponents so I’m sure Roberto will have them extremely focused.
“Millwall will be a tough side on Saturday, similar to the way they were in 1999 but I fancy us to come away with the win and go to Wembley again.”
Back in 1999 Mathias had the difficult decision of picking his team to represent the club at the national stadium and he said he understands how it may be difficult for current manager Roberto Martinez ahead of the weekend.
“Everybody wanted to play that day and it was a tough decision trying to pick the team because we had gone so far in the cup and we were progressing well in the league at the time.
“The team at the time picked itself usually and I knew what my strongest side was and that’s what you always look to play, so I can understand that Roberto will have a tough decision when it comes down to picking his team come Saturday.”
At the time of the cup final, Mathias believed that all of his players had a part to play whether they played or not, adding:
“We had some very good players throughout the squad and the players who didn’t play were very important to everybody in the squad and at the club and of course none more so than Roberto.
“David Lowe also figured in the games throughout the season but was only used as a substitute and all of those decisions were hard ones to make.”
Reminiscing on the period after lifting the Auto Windscreens Shield, Mathias added:
“We had a game two days after the cup final which meant a lot to the team because we still wanted to make it into the play-offs, all I can say is that those players did a brilliant job.
“Towards the end of the season we had seven games left after the final in the space of 15 or 16 days which was an amazing spell for the team.
“At the time of the final we weren’t even in a play-off position and that’s why I admired the players so much and gave them lots of credit for what was achieved.”
Join in the excitement on Twitter by using #wafcwembley and send in your photos as we build up to the big game on Saturday!
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